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Former Richmond woman gains honor for flood efforts

December 4, 2011
From staff reports , The Herald-Star

CINCINNATI?- Deborah H. Lee, formerly of Richmond, received the Superior Civilian Service Award during a recent ceremony at the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division headquarters in Cincinnati.

The award was presented by Maj. Gen. John W. Peabody in recognition of Lee's contribution in preventing an estimated $110 billion in damages during the spring's flooding on the Missouri, Mississippi and Ohio rivers.

For the past five years Lee has served as chief of the Water Management Division of the Great Lakes and Ohio River Division of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Lee has been with the division for 10 years and has a total of 25 years in federal service with the Corps of Engineers and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Lee's responsibility during this year's flooding entailed operating the Ohio Valley reservoirs to reduce flood damage in the Ohio and lower Mississippi valleys. She also directs the Tennessee Valley reservoirs during times of flooding. Through strategic use of the reservoirs Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake - she was able to reduce flood stages by approximately 4 feet, which was critical in preventing overtopping of the Mississippi River levees. "I appreciated the recognition from my commander for the work my team and I performed during this record flood," Lee stated. "Certainly and hopefully, this record flood was a once in a lifetime experience."

Lee is a 1980 graduate of the former Jefferson Union High School and is the daughter of Wayne and Cinda Hollister of Toronto.

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